meditate on this: cup

Part of a series, inspired by a peacock in Holland Park.

Something to mediate on, as I near the completion of my screenplay adaptation of my novel. And, another gift for you, George Harrison singing My Sweet Lord. Shanti shanti.


fluoro filofan

I remember getting my first Filofax: I was visiting London from NY with my English boyfriend, it was the 80s, and I got mine in basic black, of course. I felt very grown up.

I still have the Filofax, and Reader, I married the boyfriend.

And now, decades later, living in London, I am the proud owner of a FLUORO PINK, genuine leather, Filofax. The original. New and Improved. The 21st Century version.

I can't tell you how much it cheers me up: this weather is the pits. It's not just London - I'm hearing it's the same in NY, across America.. not to mention the Twisters, the Hurricanes.. I don't have to tell you. Today's outlook is 'Outbreaks of rain affecting most. Misty in the east.'

Even in the warm places.. I'm seeing 18 degrees for Rome, 20 for Barcelona.. which means nothing to me if it's not in Fahrenheit, and I can't find the conversion, but I know it's not great. Not for a day or two before JUNE.

So there's one of two ways we can go about this, I feel. Besides booking a short holiday to an Italian island - which I've done - I can sulk, or I can wear fluoro. I choose the latter.

I equate it to sacrificing lambs, or first born daughters, at a temple on top of the tallest mountain. Every day, rain or shine, I wear something bright. It might be a jumper, it might just be nail varnish (shown here, by Model's Own- I like pairing pink and orange. And I love pink with green, esp. lime, like my lovely lime Tina clutch, by #IJ). It's too cold for my hot pink plastic sandals, of course. At the very least, I can wear my hot pink watch, or carry my hot pink Filofax.

Shortly after we moved to London, I met Elle Macpherson socially. She took down my number. I'm not  telling this story to name drop about Elle, but rather the thing that impressed me most: she reached into this gigundous bag, and pulled out a hot pink Smythson book, and wrote down my number. Wasted half a page on me (and no, Reader, she never did call). But the luxury of that big pink book stayed with me to this day. Pink leather feels like the height of luxury, but a Filofax is more than a book, because of the nooks and crannies. 

It's a clutch, with pages.

Speaking of watches, my husband's been saying he's noticed that 'kids' (i.e. anyone under 25) have stopped wearing watches. He's noticed that when people want to know what time it is, they look at their phone. I think that's so sad. I love the quaint, 20th century items, like watches, like proper diaries. Yes, I have a digital one on my laptop, but it's not the same.

The thing about my Fluoro Filofax is, it's leather. It HOLDS things. I can use it like a clutch, put my passport in it, money, credit cards.. it's got a RULER, for goodness sake. It's a thing of beauty, a joy forever, and while I don't love my basic black one any less - it's older than most bloggers - I love this one.. okay, I admit it. I'm a Fluoro FiloFan.

So if it's raining where you are, and it's not a pool day, let a smile be your umbrella. If we all wear something Fluoro, who knows, maybe collectively we'll WILL the sun to come out.


more from old harry house

As before: our friends' house in Poole, near Bournemouth. England.

Self portrait with pink shoes.

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend, all in the UK, Happy Memorial Day Weekend in the States, and to everyone else round the world, Happy Weekend. Ah, just as I typed that, the sun came out.


old harry house: mid century modern

From my pre-digital, pre-streetstyle days: a weekend at our friends' house, in Poole, named Old Harry House, after the rocks, shown above when we went out sailing with them.

I am obsessed - absolutely craving - minimalism and mid century modernism.

As always - boats against the current - I'm drawn to the same themes. Can't resist a self portrait, for example, reflected in glass. And while I'm usually using a favourite pair of shoes, for scale, their little grey dog proved a useful prop.


sens & serendipity

Spiritual as I like to believe I am, there are things in this world that make me happy.

Amongst my favourite things are scented products, and I'm a fool for packaging. So when these four Panier des Sens en Provence products arrived in the post, and they turned out to feel and smell not just as good as I'd hoped, but better.. I cannot believe the quality of these creams and lotions. The lavender feels like a day in Andalusia, at a spa that had a lavender field, and we were offered armfuls, and drove off with it in the boot of the car, making my husband and I dizzy with hay fever.. I'm sniffing one hand as I type, the one with Energizing Verbena, so deeply lemony and fresh and also, pure essence of flowers.. and the Rose. What can I say. I love them all equally.

And with my current obsession with interiors that are light, modern, and minimal, these products sit like pretty bits of jewelry, or wild flowers in a vase. I love that contrast.

I feel like Julie Andrews, singing that song, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.. as I was shooting these, the sun burst through the clouds, and the cat, sleeping lazily next to me, looked up. He must have been dreaming he was in the South of France. I love that kind of happy accident. Serendipity.

From left to right: Energizing Verbena hand creme, Rejuvenating Rose and Relaxing Lavender body lotions, and Soothing Provence massage oil, all natural, all organic, all made in Provence, all available now from Ashleigh & Burwood, London.


for nella

For Nella, who was having surgery in Sweden yesterday, while I took this photo, in London, in Holland Park. Each tulip, so uniquely beautiful, showing me how profoundly fleeting life is. We only ever have this moment.

For Nella's daughter, Micha, and her fiance, David, and their children.

For my Mother, and my Father.

For my husband.

For love.


back to black: tulip

Inspired by a tulip I shot today at Holland Park, I remembered a shoot I did years ago - 2009 I think - with Estelle and Georgie. And took a gown that was blue grey, and brought it back to purplish black.

Speaking of, wasn't that a gorgeous version of Back to Black in Gatsby? I recognised Florence and the Machine - her voice is so iconic - but didn't realise it was Beyonce doing Back to Black. Or was it?

So much I want to say about this film. Another time. Have you seen it? What's your verdict? I love what Baz Luhrmann said about the critics, that the book didn't get good reviews, either. People, huh.

infinite shades of grey: harriet porter's paintings

What an exquisite treat it was yesterday - such serendipity. Grey day in May, so not a pool day, and my husband and I bundled up warm, walked into Holland Park and he saw a little poster. That's a painting! he said, pointing to what looked like a black and white photo of a spoon. We found the Ice House, MET the artist, Harriet Porter, and I was kicking myself I didn't have my camera (I shot these with my phone). And then we met the peacock couple (more about them later).

What was special for me was seeing a glass bottle that inspired her painting. And then the artist herself took this photo, with my phone (which I then played around with: the balance of colour with grey is so subtle, so infinite).

I've never met a fellow artist before who said so exactly why she makes her art: her 'day job' is as a talented stylist and art director, in interiors mainly, and she's - like me - an energetic, social being. So her art is what she does as a kind of meditation, a way of quieting her mind.

It's also uncanny, because of the images I was working with the night before, shots from years ago, in St. Ives.. I'll post that later, but I wanted this up, in case one person out there is anywhere near London. Because today's the last day this show will be in this special place. She's just put up this link, but just go to Holland Park, you can't miss the Ice House. It's right next to the incredible tulip gardens, and the peacock. The contrast of brilliant colours to the quiet of these greys is.. well, go see for yourself. But don't forget your camera.


what the hell is this

It was one of those magic moments, today, with my husband in Holland Park.. absolutely kicking myself I didn't have my camera. Shot these with my phone. More to come.

Have you figured out what this is? See below.


incident on porthminster beach

It was a few years ago, when I was shooting in film, with my dad's Pentax - something I'm going to start doing again, I decided, because I love the quality. With film, you're more.. careful. You don't take a zillion photos. You choose when to press the shutter.

And you don't get the results til much later. When you're somewhere else. When the moment is gone.

We were on the beach near St. Ives, Cornwall - Porthminster Beach. It was my birthday - mid September, and it was that last glorious few minutes of sun on the beach, on the last sunny Indian summer day. Our first day of holiday, but the next would turn cold and dark and wet, and have their own beautiful light. But this day - it was like that line, 'made glorious summer.'

Later, I started playing with the image - zooming in and in, trying to imagine the story behind these people I never knew. Late at night, one night, I started thinking about how much you can read into a moment, frozen in time.

Below is the triptych of this image, and at the bottom, the original photo. Which, at when you look at it from a distance, isn't particularly interesting, or even a very good photo.

My husband just glanced over, as I was typing, and asked if that was a photo I've taken. 'Yeah,' I said, and kept on typing. 'The colours are fucked up,' he said, and went on reading.


let there be light

What a wonderful world.

After a few idyllic days in the English countryside, swimming in the most magic heated outdoor pool of a beautiful friend, who is very private (I wish I could show you the photos), back to London and off to the John Lewis Christmas in July press day with my lovely friend Lina.

It was a great party. Great food, (more about that later) and sampling some of the John Lewis brands, including yummy tidbits and marmalades by Cartwright & Butler - I love their packaging, and the roquefort cheese melts, these yummy crispy little balls that do melt in your mouth - Nigel, the sweetest man who works with the brand, said it's because they use real butter. And the packaging is superb.

Tthen, lo & behold, I saw the design solution to what my husband and I have been searching for.

We have this entrance stairway, and we've wanted to hang one perfect lightbulb from a pretty old fashioned rose, as a lighting feature. We've been going back and forth on what the bulb should look like, and who knew that a press event should provide the solution. For £45, we get the Plumen Pentant Set, hire an electrician, buy a rose from B&Q, and Bob's your uncle.

Now it just remains to pray for a peaceful solution in Egypt, because my dear friend Natayla, who lived in London, was raised and schooled in Geneva, and is now married (also to an Egyptian) and living in Cairo. On Tahrir Square. And our new friend and neighbour, who just moved in last week, is also Egyptian. It's an interesting time to be alive, that's for sure.

Thank you to Sally & Jo at RainPR for inviting us: more coming up.